Electricity Project: Ogun Landlords Protest Non-payment of Compensation

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James Sowole in Abeokuta

Landlords, whose buildings were marked for demolition in six communities in Ogun State, yesterday protested against non-payment of compensation for their structures that were acquired by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) eight years ago.

The affected communities by the construction of the power transmission project in the state by the TCN are Shogbamu, Tonowo, Asipa, Oke Ata, Shoyoye and Otooto areas of Obafemi Owode Local Government Area.

The aggrieved landlords lamented that the federal government was yet to compensate them eight years after their properties were acquired for the project.

The landlords who carried placards with various inscriptions pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the TCN to pay them their compensation at the current value of their properties.

Some of the inscriptions on their placards included read: “Transmission Company of Nigeria, enough of deliberate hardship and man inhumanity to many property owners,” “We demand: no payment no project from TCN,” “Heartless, unreliable, irresponsible and wicked transmission company of Nigeria.”

Others are: “Eight stressful years, property seized for eight years as against the promised six months compensation,” “Transmission Company of Nigeria Stop killing us. Five died already.”

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Oluade Oluwagbemiga, noted that over 30 houses were marked for demolition in 2014 when the TCN inspected the communities for electricity project, which made them to abandoned their homes and relocate to another settlement.

Oluwagbemiga stressed that the TCN had made several promises in the past eight years but had failed to compensate the landlords.

He said: “In 2014 the TCN came here to inform us that they want to start a project. In May 2014, they gave us what I can refer to as contract agreement, they signed in to (sic) every individual that the project will pass through their land and they promised that after six months we will be compensated.

“After six months, nothing came out. It was in 2020 that they came to pay people that have crops and those who have land. They did not pay those who have structures, buildings and foundations.

“When they paid those people with crops in 2020, they promised that they are coming back to those with structures after a month but they did not come until November 2020. When they came again that they want to pay for outstanding balance for crops and land owners. Those of us that have properties and structures protested that we should be paid along with those that have crops and land. It was even recorded, because of our protest, they called their head office in Abuja that we did not allow them and then, they went back to Abuja.

“In 2021, they continued like that. Whenever we call them, they will tell us that they are coming tomorrow; they made promises upon promises without fulfilling any of it. In November, we saw some contractors working in the area and we stopped them because they have not fulfilled their promises.

“In November 16, they came down to this area and held meeting with our people that they have contacted their head office in Abuja, promising that they will pay by the middle of December 2021. We all expected that they will fulfill their promises but nothing has been done till this moment.

“It is almost eight years. We are having the feelings that probably some people want to embezzle the money.

Their spokesperson said that they have to vacate the area, due to the nature of the project.

He said: “We want Mr. President to interfere and tell the TCN to return our properties is not reasonable again, they should revalue our property and pay us on time.

“People have relocated. Some have died in the course of struggling to survive. The Baale of Shogbamu village has died, the Baale of this village also died, all these deceased persons held meetings with us in December last year. Their deaths were linked to frustration they get from the transmission company. When you have a property and you cannot access it, you will be frustrated.”